How we create your custom New Zealand vacation: 5-step Process

When you hire us for the Jade or Opal custom itinerary package, we follow a 5-step travel planning process to create the New Zealand trip that is the best fit for you and your travel companions. This process has been honed and used to create hundreds of personalized itineraries for more than a decade.

To create your custom itinerary, we need to know about you! So first, a series of questions about you. 

  • How many people will be traveling, ages, interests, and anything you think we should know to make the best recommendations?
  • How much time do you have, and what is your budget (we’ll work within your budget)?
  • What is a perfect day that you envision for this trip?
  • Have you traveled to New Zealand before? If so, where did you go, what did you see?
  • Have you traveled abroad before?
  • What are your must-see places, activities that you want to include on this trip?

These may be as specific as “a raft trip on the Shotover River” or as general as “sitting by the Tasman Sea, enjoying a glass of wine.

After finding out more about you, we will be able to discuss which service is the best fit for you.  Before we can start researching your custom itinerary recommendations, we require a deposit and signed contract. Its a super easy and painless process that we can do online.

Step 1: The Overall Itinerary

The first step to creating your New Zealand vacation is to put together the overall itinerary. Based on your feedback on our initial questions, we’ll send you recommendations for destinations and activities we think you’ll love. We can also help with questions such as “Should I go to Abel Tasman National Park or the Fiordland National Park?” or “Which would be a better fit for us, Lake Wanaka or Queenstown?”.

The first step is the most time-consuming part of the process, but it’s super important that we get it right! At this stage, you’ll tell us what you want to do, what you’d like to do if it fits, and what you’ll save for the next trip.

Based on your feedback, we’ll create a New Zealand itinerary that:

  • includes all of your “must-dos,” and depending on your amount of time, what “not to do.”
  • is it a realistic pace (we’ll tell you if it’s not!), and does it work from a geographic and transportation standpoint?
  • is the right balance of activities. For example, three days of kayaking and camping> short track (hike)with incredible views> full day of mountain biking is a good balance. Three days on Milford Sound track> full day of mountain biking in Queenstown>a day of kayaking Lake Wanaka can be super tiring.
  • works for you logistically? For example, the roads in New Zealand are narrow, curvy, and, more often than not, speeds are slower. It takes more time between destinations. We will consider that.

Step 2: Accommodations

After the overall itinerary is perfected, we move to the next step of creating your New Zealand custom vacation: the accommodations!

We are happy to recommend hotels, apartments, farmhouses, huts, and Airbnbs if that is your preference. Most of our travelers like a variety of accommodations, including high-end estates and resorts with VIP services for travelers.

But, we cant move to this step until specific dates are confirmed, and flights are booked.

Here too, we want to know about your preferences. Tell us whether you like hotels, luxury estates, B&Bs, apartments, basic huts, or maybe you plan to sleep in your camper van.

  • Do you prefer having a balcony, outdoor sitting area, or a pool at your disposal?
  • Well talk about the pros and cons of renting hotel vs. an apartment, and we’ll describe the difference between camping and staying in a hut on one of the great walks; or between a secluded estate and farm stay.
  • Well do our best to find the best room combination for your family or group. Maybe you have kids who dont want to share a bed, and you prefer breakfast included. Whatever it is, let us know!

Then, well send you specific recommendations for accommodations that:

  • meet your preferences, and
  • are within your budget, and
  • are in excellent locations, and
  • have availability for your specific dates

You have the final say, but we book, check all details and make sure everything gets done!

Step 3: Guides, Tours, and Activities

After accommodations are booked, the next step in creating your New Zealand custom vacation is activities! During Step 1, we identified the activities and experiences that will highlight your trip. Here is where we dive into the details.

  • We want to know whether youd like that Abel Tasman kayak tour to be self-guided, a small group tour or a private guide. Or maybe you want to add a hiking component to the tour.
  • And for that raft trip: we want to know how exciting you want it to be. Do you want to go over a waterfall or a float trip with just a few class 3 rapids?
  • And for that great walk, knowing that odds are good for challenging weather in the forecast: will you be up for 3 days (2 nights), 33km track or 4 days (3 nights) 60 km?

We also understand that some days may be more flexible in terms of activities. On the days before a significant activity or the initial arrival to a new location, you may want to hang out and check out the town or hang by the lake. But, if you decide youd like to venture out and explore, well put together the logistics and suggestions for local hikes, easy destinations, cafes, shops you can visit with no advance booking.

For every activity, well work with you to recommend (and then book) tours and activities that meet your preference, budget, and travel pace. Then well make the bookings.

Step 4: Logistics

Transportation logistics can make or break a trip. Renting a car is a great way to travel around New Zealand; however, if you prefer not to drive or you have a large group, then hiring a private van company may be the way to go. If your itinerary includes destinations that are five or more hours apart with major airports at those destinations, then flying may be a more efficient method of travel.

The logistics of your trip are essential, but if everything flows smoothly, you shouldnt notice them.

When we asked about your preferences, we will have discovered if you plan to rent a car and how much walking you want to do and whether youll be traveling light. During this step, we book your rental car or will send you quotes on private drivers. We will also figure out the ferry schedules, car shuttles for great walks, and any airport transfers.

Step 5: Food and Restaurants

The final step in creating your New Zealand custom vacation is food! We can talk about food throughout the planning process, no problem, but if we try to make restaurant reservations earlier than a month in advance, many places will tell us to call back later.

This is also when we want to know whether you have preferences or allergies. Gluten-free? Vegetarian or vegan? No problem. Well set your New Zealand food expectation and timing guidelines for lunch and dinner. For example: finding a substantial meal between 3 pm and 5 pm can be challenging in some towns.

We will also book your special occasion.

In some towns, we recommend having a dinner reservation that you can cancel rather than not having a reservation and wandering around hungry at dinner time in high season.

And lastly,

Before departure, well send you our pre-trip checklist. The checklist is advice and information on travel insurance, technology, packing, plug adaptors, tipping, and more.

Youll depart for New Zealand as an independent traveler, but with a completely personalized custom itinerary. Information about all hotels, activities, private guides, logistics, and restaurants will be available at all times during your trip on your Axus Travel App. You can also choose to print your itinerary. You will have everything you need at your fingertips, and we will be available for any questions along the way. All youll need to do is relax and enjoy it.

Contact us to start planning your dream vacation!

Are you ready to plan your New Zealand Adventure?

Planning a trip can be overwhelming and time-consuming. It takes time and energy to figure out what country to visit, which cities to spend time in, and activities to plan. It also takes a great deal of knowledge and research. Let New Zealand Travel Solved sift through the many choices, and do the investigation work for you.